This thursday 6th October the European Parliament voted to oppose the authorisation proposal for cultivation and for import and use in food and feed of five GMOs (1). A clear majority of Members of Parliament rejected three varieties of GMO maize for cultivation in the EU, as well as one variety of maize and one variety of cotton for import and use in food and feed (2).
But the objection of the Parliament does not block the process, and Member States are expected to vote on these authorisations on 16 November.
Eduardo Cuoco, IFOAM EU Director, said: “This is the fifth time in a year that the European Parliament has objected to the approval of GMOs and the vote shows the European Parliament is continuing to express the wishes of EU citizens for a GMO-free agriculture. It is now time for Member States to be coherent with their national bans, take action and vote against these GMOs in November.”
Eric Gall, IFOAM EU Policy Manager said: “The efforts of the European organic and conventional food sectors to remain GMO-free would be jeopardised if new GMOs are authorised for cultivation in the EU. It is time for Mr Juncker to fulfil his pledge to reform the undemocratic EU authorisation system for GMOs.”
Every new GMO authorisation heightens the risk of contamination and significantly increases the costs of remaining GMO free. GMOs especially jeopardise the development of organic, which GMO-free by definition and is a €24-billion market in the EU and is growing at 7.4% per year. GMOs are not compatible with the principles organic farming because the risks they can pose to the environment and health are not sufficiently known. GMOs also increase the use of dangerous chemical herbicides which are forbidden in organic farming.
There are 17 Member States and four regions that have opted out of the cultivation of these GMOs (3), leaving only 9 countries where they could be grown if the EU Commission approves them. However, this does not eliminate the risk of contamination from GMOs imported for food and feed, which the opt out mechanism does not cover.
More info in www.ifoam-eu.org
1) Draft European Parliament resolutions:
Maize Bt11 – Maize MON810 – Maize 1507 – Cotton 281-24-236 × 3006-210-23 × MON 88913
2) The authorisation proposals concern three files for cultivation (maize MON810 genetically modified to express a protein conferring resistance to corn borer, 1507 genetically modified to express a protein conferring resistance to corn borer and to tolerate the herbicide glufosinate-ammonium, Bt11 1507 genetically modified to express a protein conferring resistance to corn borer and to tolerate the herbicide glufosinate-ammonium) and two files for placing on the market (maize MON810 and cotton 281-24-236 × 3006-210-23 × MON 88913 genetically modified to tolerate the herbicide glufosinate-ammonium, tolerate the herbicide glyphosate and to express a protein conferring a protection against insect pest).
The votes were:
Bt11: 386 in favour/ 190 against /35 abstentions
1507: 375 in favour/ 193 against / 36 abstentions
Mon810: 371 in favour / 189 against /40 abstentions
Import and use for food and feed
Mon810: 372 in favour/181 against/46 abstentions
Cotton: 384 in favour/168 against/ 39 abstentions
3) Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Netherlands, Slovenia, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wallonia, Wales.